SPECTRUM GENERATION

In 2013, after buying a working ZX Spectrum and successfully repairing another one, I decided it was time to commit myself to the preservation and study of the machine that was responsible for my academic and professional decision - I studied Computer Science, an area on which I work professionally since 2000. 

 

I was born in 78, so even though all the computers depicted here were created after that, I was only 4 when the ZX Spectrum was launched. I don’t remember the year I got my first Spectrum but I know I was very young. I was lucky to have an uncle – Carlos Oliveira – who is a passionate electronics hobbist and so I was incentivized by him to play and learn with this new object called the ZX Spectrum that was reaching Portugal in my childhood. Because of him (and other family members), I was able to get a ZX Spectrum and many, many peripherals that I preserved and would become the basis of this collection being presented.

 

Moving forward to the recent years, in 2009/2010 I gave an interview to a Portuguese newspaper and I said I was from the "Spectrum Generation", i.e., one of the lucky ones that had a ZX Spectrum on my childhood and learned how to program BASIC on such machine. Years later I went to the Portuguese Informatics Olympics final with what I had learned all by myself, reading books, experimenting, etc... 

 

At this stage in my life (in 2013), I saw no reason why I couldn't become one of the biggest collectors of such machines and so - as in everything that I do - I started working for that purpose.

 

Being Portuguese, there is even a bigger interest as part of what happened in the eighties also occurred from Portugal due to the presence of the TIMEX Corporation in Lisbon area. Timex played a very significant role to what happened in places such as USA, Portugal, Poland, Argentina, etc... We Portuguese people tend to look a lot to our past, so perhaps this is just another example of when we achieved great things. I believe this should not be forgotten as it helps to think big and globally.

 

What drives me is the preservation of these machines... It’s the opportunity to study and document my findings for others that may be interested in these matters.

 

A collection is something that may never end and I believe it is strategic to focus to accomplish some intermediate objectives which justifies our time and incentivizes us to continue. 

 

My main objectives are to:

  • get all the relevant computers and peripherals from the Sinclair brand
  • get any relevant objects from the Sinclair brand past and future (before and after the Spectrum).
  • get all the relevant computers and peripherals from the Timex (Timex-Sinclair and Timex Computer) brand which covers USA, Portugal and even Poland (under the Unipolbrit brand)
  • get all the relevant computers from Investrónica (the Spanish distributor), as Spain also was an important country to this technological revolution.
  • get any other relevant European variants (eg. French computers)
  • as Brazil is considered a brother Country to Portugal, I wish to collect and study at least the most relevant computers from there
  • as the first Argentinian Spectrum clones seems to have originated in Portugal (Timex), I wish to collect the most relevant computers from there.

 

As I write this in 2016, most of it is already achieved. Nowadays I am trying to get all the different boards (internals) used in the computers. Nevertheless, in the last 3 years, apart from adding things like Spain and Brazil, I can't say that I have changed much my aim, which I see as a good thing.

 

What I do know that I do not want to collect all the Soviet and Eastern Europe Spectrum clones... I have good friends doing that, but I don't feel the motivation to do it and that would jeopardize my focus.

I also do not want to evolve to collect other 8-bit consoles or computers - again, I have other good friends doing that and they can do it much better than myself.

 

I want to be one of the top Spectrum-related collectors worlwide and that is more than enough to me.

 

Hope you like the work presented here. Please get in touch and share your ideas, doubts, findings, etc... That's the purpose of sharing this information.

 

PS1 - Feel free to share any pictures or to refer the information anywhere, just be sure to state clearly this webpage. 
PS2 - I participate ocasionaly in exhibitions with the collection so, if you think you have the right conditions to reach a significant population, get in touch and we can discuss it.

Open Full Size Download

SPECTRUM GENERATION

In 2013, after buying a working ZX Spectrum and successfully repairing another one, I decided it was time to commit myself to the preservation and study of the machine that was responsible for my academic and professional decision - I studied Computer Science, an area on which I work professionally since 2000. 

 

I was born in 78, so even though all the computers depicted here were created after that, I was only 4 when the ZX Spectrum was launched. I don’t remember the year I got my first Spectrum but I know I was very young. I was lucky to have an uncle – Carlos Oliveira – who is a passionate electronics hobbist and so I was incentivized by him to play and learn with this new object called the ZX Spectrum that was reaching Portugal in my childhood. Because of him (and other family members), I was able to get a ZX Spectrum and many, many peripherals that I preserved and would become the basis of this collection being presented.

 

Moving forward to the recent years, in 2009/2010 I gave an interview to a Portuguese newspaper and I said I was from the "Spectrum Generation", i.e., one of the lucky ones that had a ZX Spectrum on my childhood and learned how to program BASIC on such machine. Years later I went to the Portuguese Informatics Olympics final with what I had learned all by myself, reading books, experimenting, etc... 

 

At this stage in my life (in 2013), I saw no reason why I couldn't become one of the biggest collectors of such machines and so - as in everything that I do - I started working for that purpose.

 

Being Portuguese, there is even a bigger interest as part of what happened in the eighties also occurred from Portugal due to the presence of the TIMEX Corporation in Lisbon area. Timex played a very significant role to what happened in places such as USA, Portugal, Poland, Argentina, etc... We Portuguese people tend to look a lot to our past, so perhaps this is just another example of when we achieved great things. I believe this should not be forgotten as it helps to think big and globally.

 

What drives me is the preservation of these machines... It’s the opportunity to study and document my findings for others that may be interested in these matters.

 

A collection is something that may never end and I believe it is strategic to focus to accomplish some intermediate objectives which justifies our time and incentivizes us to continue. 

 

My main objectives are to:

  • get all the relevant computers and peripherals from the Sinclair brand
  • get any relevant objects from the Sinclair brand past and future (before and after the Spectrum).
  • get all the relevant computers and peripherals from the Timex (Timex-Sinclair and Timex Computer) brand which covers USA, Portugal and even Poland (under the Unipolbrit brand)
  • get all the relevant computers from Investrónica (the Spanish distributor), as Spain also was an important country to this technological revolution.
  • get any other relevant European variants (eg. French computers)
  • as Brazil is considered a brother Country to Portugal, I wish to collect and study at least the most relevant computers from there
  • as the first Argentinian Spectrum clones seems to have originated in Portugal (Timex), I wish to collect the most relevant computers from there.

 

As I write this in 2016, most of it is already achieved. Nowadays I am trying to get all the different boards (internals) used in the computers. Nevertheless, in the last 3 years, apart from adding things like Spain and Brazil, I can't say that I have changed much my aim, which I see as a good thing.

 

What I do know that I do not want to collect all the Soviet and Eastern Europe Spectrum clones... I have good friends doing that, but I don't feel the motivation to do it and that would jeopardize my focus.

I also do not want to evolve to collect other 8-bit consoles or computers - again, I have other good friends doing that and they can do it much better than myself.

 

I want to be one of the top Spectrum-related collectors worlwide and that is more than enough to me.

 

Hope you like the work presented here. Please get in touch and share your ideas, doubts, findings, etc... That's the purpose of sharing this information.

 

PS1 - Feel free to share any pictures or to refer the information anywhere, just be sure to state clearly this webpage. 
PS2 - I participate ocasionaly in exhibitions with the collection so, if you think you have the right conditions to reach a significant population, get in touch and we can discuss it.

Science of Cambridge MK-14

The Microcomputer Kit 14 (MK 14) was Sinclair's (at that time called “Science of Cambridge”) first computer introduced in 1977 for UK £39.95. Based on the National Semiconductor SC/MP processor, the MK 14's capabilities were minimal by today's standards - modern digital watches are considerably more powerful!

Despite the MK 14's severe limitations, it was one of the most important British computers ever produced. The MK14 eventually sold over 50,000 units. Its success in finding a previously untapped market was not lost on either Sinclair or his employees, notably Chris Curry, soon to break away and establish Acorn. Without the MK 14, there probably would never have been a ZX81, Spectrum, BBC Micro or Archimedes, and the British computer scene would have been very different.

The MK14 specification:
1/2k ROM Monitor
256 bytes RAM (expandable to 640 bytes on board and 2170 bytes total)
8 (or 9) Red LED seven segment display.
20 key keyboard and reset switch
Optional 16 I/O lines available by adding a IC
No sound card (design provided)
No backing store (cassette and PROM storage an optional extra)
Optional VDU supporting 32x16 text or 64x64 graphics
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
source: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/8095/science-of-cambridge-mk14/

Sinclair ZX80

Developer: Science of Cambridge (renamed to Sinclair Computers Ltd in November 1979)
Type: Home Computer
Operating system: Sinclair BASIC
CPU: Z80 @ 3.25 MHz (most machines used the NEC μPD780C-1 equivalent)
Memory: 4K ROM, 1K RAM (externally expandable to 16K)
Display: 24 lines x 32 character text display Monochrome only
Sound: None, I/O Z80 bus, 250 baud cassette interface, RF television out
Storage: External cassette recorder
Successor: ZX81
Highlights:
Very slow program execution - no video chips, the CPU performs all of the computer functions
The keyboard is a membrane-type, a flat plastic surface which is difficult to use and wears-out rather quickly.
There was an upgrade kit to the ZX81 as can be seen in the last photo.

Sinclair ZX81

Developer: Sinclair Research
Manufacturer: Timex Corporation
Release date: 5 March 1981
Discontinued: 1984
Type: Home Computer
Predecessor: ZX80
Successor: ZX Spectrum
Operating system: Sinclair BASIC
CPU: Z80 at 3.25 MHz
Storage capacity: External cassette tape recorder at 250 baud
Memory: 1 KB (64 KB max. 56 KB usable)
Display: Monochrome display on UHF television
Graphics: 24 lines x 32 characters or 64 x 48 pixels graphics mode
Highlights:
The computer is composed of only four IC chips, and there are no video chips or co-processors. The CPU has to perform all of the tasks that are required of a computer, which means it executes the BASIC program and updates the screen at the same time, slowing the program speed. The fix? Don't update the display as often - the SLOW and FAST commands determine the video display rate. The FAST command allows the program to run 4X faster, but then the display gets jerky.
Other models:
Timex Sinclair 1000, 1982, sold by Timex in USA
Timex Sinclair 1500, 1983, sold by Timex in USA, stop-gap between the TS 1000 and the forthcoming American version of the Spectrum, the TS 2000 (never released). It was a ZX81 with an internally housed 16K RAM expansion module, in a black and silver Spectrum-style box with the familiar "dead flesh" rubber keyboard. The updating of the ZX81 design was an attempt to counter the two biggest drawbacks of the TS 1000, namely the touch-sensitive keyboard and the minuscule 1K of memory. The machine failed dismally: no matter how much it was dressed up, it was still a ZX81, with most of that machine's limitations still intact.

 Comments (8)

Tony Pascoal

Estava a folhear a revista Clube do Coleccionador Nr. 2dos CTT e dou de caras com a entrevista.
Que memórias se avivaram.
A primeira o desejo de querer ter e andar anos a "poupar" para finalmente (mais ou menos em 1985 com 16/17 anos) comprar um em segunda mão que ainda hoje tenho na embalagem original... as tardes de domingo a carregar jogos, as primeiras linhas de programação e ver aquilo tomar forma.. Muito bom :D
Parabéns João pela colecção..
Hoje aprendi mais umas quantas coisas: afinal ZX Spectrum há muitos :D

Reply

João Diogo Ramos

Thanks Simone

Reply

Simone Voltolini

Great collection!!!

Reply

Jacinto

A example of a outstanding machine! Even today, there are many zx spectrum games more playable, and with lots of more fun than today's megaproductions for PSP and Xbox...

Reply

Mmm

espectacular!!

Reply

Paulo

A minha primeira maquina: ZX Spectrum 48K. Coleçao incrivel. Tantas recordaçoes......Parabens.

Reply

Délio Almeida

Bolas, tanta coisa Diogo, és um coleccionador à grande :-)

Reply

Helder Santos

Fantástica colecção Diogo, parabéns!

Reply